A year on after the idea was first mooted, the government has officially revealed the identity of the company that be responsible for the new national car, and it is DreamEdge. The announcement was made by minister of international trade and industry Datuk Darell Leiking at an event in Cyberjaya earlier this morning.

He said the Malaysian innovation and digital engineering services company will lead the project, which will be totally privately-funded. “There is no government funding at all. Like any other company, they can apply for tax breaks and the government will see if they are entitled,” he said. It was also announced that Daihatsu Motor Company will provide technology support for the programme, but it will not have any equity in the project.

Leiking said that DreamEdge was chosen because the company has a good business model that the government believes can work. “They presented their proposal to the prime minister and he is convinced, as long as it is privately-funded and is run by experts from DreamEdge,” he said.

Aside from stating it will be an “exclusive model with a new approach to segmentation,” few specific details of the as-yet-unnamed vehicle were divulged during the briefing. However, DreamEdge CEO Khairil Adri Adnan did reveal that it would be a plus-sized B-segment sedan (mentioned during the press conference as C-segment, and later corrected) equipped with a regular ICE or hybrid powertrain, and will be built via contract manufacturing, although it was not revealed which company would assemble the car.

A brief timeline for the development of the new national car was offered during the presentation – following today’s announcement, the engineering capability model mock-up is set to be shown at the end of August. Mid-September will see the kick-start of additional recruitment for the project, and the company will show the first model prototype of the new national car in March 2020, with the final product set to make its market debut in March 2021.

The announcement of the project lead has been months overdue. In April, it had been reported that the government was in the final phase of deciding the project’s strategic partner, having shortlisted the list of potential candidates down to two companies.

DreamEdge is a Cyberjaya-based company with a broad portfolio of services, ranging from CAD/CAE/CAM modeling and analysis to product design and development in a broad spectrum of areas, including automotive applications. According to its website, the company has, among other things, been involved in turnkey projects in new vehicle development, which involves design, prototype development and developing the systems for mass production.

The NNCP first surfaced into public view in June last year when, speaking at the Nikkei Conference in Japan, prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mentioned the idea of a new national car. The topic evolved into a series of discussions in the following months until October, when the first defined timelines were offered – a prototype was due this year, and the car was to roll out in 2020.

Since then, the project has largely been running under the radar, and today’s announcement is bound to raise the public chatter again. We await the next development in the journey with the reveal of the model mock-up at the end of the month.